DON’T FEED OMEGA 3 TO COWS…until you speak to UFAC UK

There is considerable interest in feeding products containing omega 3 oils to dairy cows. But the message from Mike Chown of UFAC UK is make sure you choose the right product as there are big differences between omega 3 sources.

DON’T FEED OMEGA 3 TO COWS…until you speak to UFAC UK

There is considerable interest in feeding products containing omega 3 oils to dairy cows. But the message from Mike Chown of UFAC UK is make sure you choose the right product as there are big differences between omega 3 sources.

“Many products are promoted as containing omega 3s and having a benefit on fertility and the immune system in particular,” Mike comments. “But to get the best results you need to make sure that you feed omega 3s from fish oils and not from plant derived oils such as linseed.”

Omega 3 is a fatty acid and Mike explains that the most effective form of omega 3 in dairy diets is long chain omega 3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA. These are naturally and uniquely found in fish oils but not in plant derived oils.

“Plant oils contain long chain omega 3 fatty acids and these cannot be directly utilised by cows,” Mike continues. “Instead they have to be converted by the cow into the long chain form. This is a very inefficient process which means that cows will show a smaller response than if fed the long chain form from fish oils, as only a small portion of the omega 3s fed from plant oils will end up in the form needed.”

He also points out that in the process in the cow some of the medium chain omega 3 in plant oils will be metabolised into the omega 6 product which can actually reduce fertility as it is proven to interfere with prostaglandin levels.

“There is no doubt that increasing omega 3 levels in dairy diets can help improve fertility and reduce the problems with inflammatory conditions such as mastitis and laminitis, but only if you feed the correct form. Insist on omega 3 products from marine sources and you will be doing the best for your cows.”

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